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The Construction Industry Has A Waste Problem. Project Management Can Help

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A team executing BIM
A team executing BIM

Martin Amengual is tired of waste. As CEO of CorbisStudio, a technology-driven project management and delivery firm, Amengual sees waste where other construction industry professionals cannot. That waste, he said, goes far beyond unused building materials. 

“When people talk about reducing waste in the construction process, they are usually talking about recycling and reusing materials, but we go further,” Amengual said. “The biggest piece of wasted work and materials actually comes from the need to rework construction models.”

Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is a process where architects, engineers and construction professionals use 3D design and modeling software to better plan, design and construct buildings. Having improper or inefficient BIM practices is actually the largest theft of time and money a contractor can encounter, Amengual said. But he is working to change all that.  

Bisnow sat down with Amengual to talk about BIM and how the industry can reduce waste across the board.

Bisnow: Where do you see waste in the construction design process?  

Amengual: I see it in every phase of the process. The waste problem is becoming urgent, and it seems as though no one is willing to address it. Business as usual is not cutting it — a lack of coordination between industry professionals, lack of construction expertise during the design phase and improper use of BIM processes are leading to endless design reworks, causing an epidemic of wasted time, energy and resources that needs to be taken seriously. 

Along with that, designers are not consulting with construction managers or general contractors early enough in the process when they create models, leading to a disconnect between what is happening in the office and what can feasibly happen on the site. Once that happens, the process turns into a sea of requests for information, reworks and delays.

A team executing BIM
A team executing BIM

Bisnow: How are people misusing BIM? 

Amengual: We see a lot of firms creating what they consider to be BIM models but they are really just models from  Autodesk Revit, which is a software that has been around for over a decade. You’re getting a basic 3D model, but you’re not extracting any data that will help reduce waste in the construction process and allow you to create a bridge between a great design and fluid, smooth and flawless construction planning and execution. 

However, we have found that when teams are using BIM to its fullest, it can result in up to a 15% reduction in construction costs and 10% schedule compression. 

Bisnow: What can contractors do instead?

Amengual: They can work with lean principles, and create a systematic standard for creating, developing and coordinating all of the information they need to construct a building inside a BIM environment. That’s the basis of our Construction Digital Prototype. 

Our goal is just to answer a simple question: How can we reduce reworks from early design development to end of construction? 

A team executing BIM

Bisnow: What goes into your CDP?

Amengual: We start by creating a project quality manual that sets clear expectations and responsibilities for each party involved in the building process across all disciplines, from the designers to the construction manager. Every consultant must understand this new approach to delivering projects from day one, and owners must onboard every player before they engage in early design activities.

Next, we sit all of these consultants together in a BIM room during the first days of design development, to get everyone’s input and views implemented in the model. By involving construction managers early in the process, you shorten the cycle of reviews, requests for information and reworks later on, when countless hours have been wasted.  

Bisnow: How can teams use it to the fullest?

Amengual: BIM is only a tool, and as with every tool, it is only as good as the team using it. Our architects, engineers, construction managers and software engineers are the real engine of our methodology and they ensure efficient use of resources throughout the duration of the design delivery and preconstruction phases.

Our goal is to help construction and development teams use BIM to its full potential. When that happens, they can make their processes leaner, finish projects faster and, most importantly, reduce construction costs. 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and CorbisStudio. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.